What's Causing Your Lymphedema?

Some swelling comes and goes. But if you have noticeable swelling in one or both of your arms or legs, you’re probably wondering what’s to blame. 

It could be lymphedema, a condition that develops when your body can’t properly drain lymph fluid from your limbs. If you think you might be living with lymphedema, don’t hesitate to contact our dedicated team at Hamilton Vascular. At our offices in Webster, Sugar Land, Round Rock, and San Antonio, Texas, we offer lymphedema diagnosis and treatment.  

In the meantime, you might be wondering what’s causing your condition. So let’s look at some of the most common causes of lymphedema. 

Cancer and cancer treatment

Your lymphatic system works to collect unwanted matter from your body — like viruses and waste — and filter and drain it through your lymph nodes. But if you’ve had your lymph nodes removed or received another cancer treatment that affects your lymphatic system, your body may not be able to drain lymphatic fluid the way it should. 

Both cancer and cancer treatment can contribute to the development of lymphedema. Radiation can scar and inflame your lymph nodes or they might get damaged or removed entirely in a surgery to remove cancerous cells, for example.

Fortunately, our Hamilton Vascular team is available to deliver targeted treatment to cancer patients and cancer survivors living with lymphedema. Simple but effective treatment could include lymph node massage, compression stockings, and a tailored exercise plan to encourage lymphatic fluid drainage in your affected limb(s). 

Infection

If your lymph nodes get infected, it can inhibit their ability to do their job. That means they won’t drain lymphatic fluid as quickly as they should. Parasites can also contribute to lymphedema by similarly crippling your lymph nodes.

Lymph node infections — also called lymphadenitis — are treatable. By addressing the infection, you can help your lymph nodes function properly again. 

Primary lymphedema

In this case, another condition isn’t causing your swelling, it is a problem with your lymph nodes themselves. Milroy’s disease and Meige’s disease are both forms of primary lymphedema.

If you’re living with primary lymphedema, our Hamilton Vascular team can tailor a treatment to encourage proper drainage in your body. That could mean regular massage and exercise or wearing compression garments. In the event more conservative treatments don’t mitigate your swelling, our team may recommend surgery to improve your body’s ability to drain lymphatic fluid. 

Ultimately, no matter the cause of your lymphedema, our Hamilton Vascular team can help you find the right treatment to bring you relief from your swelling. To get started, call the office nearest you or choose your preferred location and send us a message through our website today. 

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